Tuesday, April 23, 2013

'Defiance' recap: 'Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go'

Irisa is not a fan of Castithan justice. Courtesy Syfy

So here we are once again. Welcome back to the little town of Defiance.

Within its ramshackle walls you will find a nice little mixing pot of aliens and humans, but they don't seem to be melting together quite as well as Mayor Amanda would like. As expected, Nolan has accepted the Lawkeeper job, and even Irisa is sporting a shiny new badge. Sadly (or not), she has kept the attitude.

Personally, I like the attitude; it goes nicely with the flaming red hair, don't you think? After last week's two-hour pilot, I'm ready to get down to learning more about planet Earth's new denizens. We are immediately introduced to a Castithan ceremony that very closely resembles torture. That's because it is, but it's meant to be a cleansing ceremony. You see, Bandik fled the battle with the Volge and this ceremony will cleanse the cowardice from him as it kills him. Kind of like a witch trial.

Irisa and Nolan stumble upon this little gathering and immediately take a dislike to it; Irisa in particular. But Mayor Amanda won't let them interfere. She pulls Nolan aside and tells him exactly why there aren't any Irathients in town besides Irisa. It's because years ago, the town decided to forcibly vaccinate the Irathient children. This went against standard Irathient belief and they rebelled, and those who didn't die in the fighting left Defiance. After this unfortunate event, the town decided to allow everyone to exercise their own cultural beliefs.

While the rest of the town is busy ogling the ceremony, Mr. Burch of the pretty blue spectacles breaks Ben out of the infirmary. This involved sticking a big needle into his brain. Well, whatever it was, it sure woke Ben up. Mr. Burch leaves him with instructions to finish the job. Poor Ben, he seems conflicted, but he's in too deep to back out now. And as luck would have it, he has to go deeper still -- as in down into the mines, into the old St. Louis. He gets into the mine tunnel and collapses it behind him.

It's all perfect timing though, because it interrupts a fight between Rafe McCawley and his children. He is not very happy with Christie and her plans on marrying Alak Tarr. This fight prompts Christie to get some cold feet. THIS leads to Alak interrupting his parents in the bath to cry about it.

Castithans apparently like an audience when they bathe, because this room is very crowded. What with the Tarr's and their bath attendants? Squirminess ensues as Stahma assures her son that she will fix this problem and then hugs him. The fact that she is wearing nothing but strategically draped beads doesn't matter at all. If I ever saw my mother wearing nothing but beads...

One other nice little tidbit comes out in this conversation, though. We learn that Datak was the lowest of the low, caste-wise, back on the homeworld. He likes being on top now, pissing on those beneath him. I'm not surprised; he and Lucius Malfoy seem like they would get along splendidly. Maybe it's just the hair. Later we learn that he disposed of Stahma's fiance on the Ark by throwing him out an airlock right before they were to duel. Stahma appears to have found this sexy, so here we are.

So, where were we? Oh right, the mines. Nolan and Rafe chase off after Ben, conveniently coming across a nuclear power plant. Can you say BOOM? Ben can.

But Nolan found a copy of War of the Worlds, so that's something.

Not to fear, everyone. Before Ben can blow up the plant and kill the town with the resulting radiation fallout, he loses a shoot out. Not to be taken alive, Ben goads Rafe by spouting off about how much Luke hated his father. When this doesn't work, he jumps at Rafe and the gun goes off. Before he dies, Ben chokes out to tell Amanda that he's sorry. Aww.

While Nolan is off crawling around in old St. Louis, Irisa causes a scene by "rescuing" Bandik. As the Casthi start to get ugly, Deputy Tommy intervenes with a shotgun blast into the air and the announcement that Bandik is under arrest for loitering. Yes, loitering. Tommy has managed to grow a mustache since "yesterday," by the way.

Personally, I think he needs to shave it off, now. Only by the time they get to the jail, Irisa has changed her mind and tells Tommy he was stupid for helping her. So, essentially, teenage alien girls are just as crazy as teenage human girls.

Datak shows up with his hulking Bioman to take poor Bandik back, but Mayor Amanda shows up and claims that she has pardoned him. It should be noted that at no time has Bandik ever expressed a desire to be rescued. But heroes will be heroes won't they? Luckily, Nolan and Rafe arrive with a large Sensoth friend and they all agree to get along for a little while. Amanda is disappointed to find that Ben is dead, but she's got 41 dead to bury and will have to deal with that later.

Amanda leads a procession of townsfolk through he woods to some trees with white ribbons tied around them. The dead from the battle with the Volge are buried at the bases of the tress. And as a slow cover of Nirvana's "Come As You Are" plays, we see Rafe going through his dead son's room to find an intricate gold medallion and a map.

Could this be the Key that Mayor Nicky was looking for? As the music continues we slide over to Elah Bandik's home. He looks up as Datak enters and thanks him for allowing him to spend time with his family. As the lyrics, "I don't have a gun" play, Datak's energy knife lights up. The corpse of Elah Bandik is left on the Lawkeeper's office doorstep. At least they didn't have to go looking for it.

The next episode of Defiance, "The Devil in the Dark," airs Monday, April 29 at 9 p.m. ET on Syfy.